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I'm in the United Kingdom and asked HSBC about opening a joint bank account with my partner as we're in the process of purchasing a house and wanted one for mortgage payments and household bills.

We are both HSBC current account holders and have been for some time. I also have a savings account with them too.

I was told on their online chat that "due to the current situation" (referring to the Covid-19 pandemic) they are not accepting opening new accounts. They had no estimate of when that might be available again.

I looked at another bank (Santander) and saw that - as expected - you can make applications for any type of current account they offer, including with joint account holders, via their website.

I'm unsure why a bank would refuse to do this particularly for existing customers both of which have a good credit score. Does anyone have any insight into why this is the case, and recommendations of who to use for the purpose I've described?

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    Did you ask them why? Without HSBC-input, answers will probably be opinion-based. The most obvious reason (to me) is that staff are in short-supply (self-isolation etc.) and "new accounts" is just one of the services they've suspended to reduce pressure on them. In many cases (such as yours) it may not need a review or face-to-face meeting, but – and I'm just guessing – many new account applications would. – TripeHound May 24 at 14:19
  • @TripeHound no, I didn't ask specifically why. I posted here because I wondered after I'd finished the online chat with them. It seems odd although I guess you've probably provided the most likely answer that staffing may be an issue at the moment. – Andy May 24 at 14:23
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    Here in Canada some kinds of bank accounts can only be opened with an in-person visit. During lockdown, you can't do that. I've had a business account with my bank for over 30 years but can't open another one without going in. Perhaps it's the same for yours. Not all banks would have the same rules. – Kate Gregory May 24 at 14:35
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    All older banks are hidebound. Recently, I wanted to open a business bank account with the bank I’ve been with for the last 15 years. They said I had to come in and do an in person interview to open it. So I found an online bank and opened it there in 15 minutes. No fuss. Go with a better bank. Let the dinosaurs die. – Peter K. May 24 at 14:43

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